Best Burgers in Sacramento Part II

I wanted to give you a little break from the Sacramento Burger Battle before I hit you with my second “Best Burgers” installment. Although not an all-inclusive list, you can use this as your burger jumping off point.  

Magpie Cafe

When I was first introduced to Magpie, it was on R Street and the carrot cake cookie was the accessible food that got me in the door. Once inside, that hand-scrawled menu on butcher paper let me know that this was really a restaurant for everyone. Now that Magpie has moved on up to the east side of 16th Street, the carrot cake cookie is still amazing, the butcher paper menu still greets you when you walk in the door, and now they have the space to serve more people.

Can a burger be refreshing? That’s what comes to mind when you bite into the fresh seasonal produce that adorns the juicy Magpie cheeseburger. It’s refreshing when a restaurant takes the time and effort to bake their own buns. The crunch and acidity of a house-made pickle at just the right burger moment is refreshing. Realizing that the owner cares as much about crafting the perfect french fry (probably top three fries in the city, to be honest) as he does about only serving vegetables that are in season locally and paying a fair wage is hella refreshing. Whether you want to grab lunch with a coworker or take your out-of-town guests to dinner, Magpie has you covered.

(Update: due to Magpie’s commitment to farm-to-fork practices, this burger is only available seasonally and during lunch hours. Please refer to Magpie (linked) for current offerings.) 

LowBrau Bierhalle

Although LowBrau opened in Midtown Sacramento in December of 2012, they only started making burgers in May of 2015. After only a few months of burgers under their belt, they took 2nd place in the 2015 Sacramento Burger Battle. This year they leveled up and won the People’s Choice Championship belt in the 2016 Sacramento Burger Battle!

Even with all these accolades, when I tell people one of my favorite burgers is at LowBrau, I still hear the inevitable, “They make burgers there? I thought they just did sausages?” Their 7-ounce chuck/brisket beef patty topped with white American cheese on a toasted pretzel bun is a must try. When that house-made spicy sauce hits you, I swear, fireworks go off. You decide what goes on it with the shredded romaine lettuce, grilled red onions and house-made pickles they provide on the side. Fully dressed or just meat/cheese/bun, this burger with one of their beers on draught is the lunch dreams are made of.

The Chef’s Table

Contrary to popular opinion, your food options don’t disappear once you leave the grid. In face, The Chef’s Table in Rocklin serves up some of the best New American fare in our region. Once a tiny nook in a suburban shopping plaza, the recently-expanded Chef’s Table now takes up two full suites during its bustling dinner service.

With its seasonally changing menu, you may find a new burger at The Chef’s Table every visit. One of their most recent creations is the spicy, sweet and savory beauty that is the TCT Bacon-Fig Jam Brie Burger.

But I’m here to let you all in on a little secret. One of the best burgers you’ll ever eat isn’t even on the menu. The PBBJS burger is to The Chef’s Table what the 4×4 is to In-N-Out. Not on the menu, but they always have the ingredients to make it for those in the know. And let me tell you, once you pick up this perfectly cooked SunFed Ranch grass-fed beef burger topped with melted cheddar, creamy peanut butter, spicy sriracha, crispy bacon, and grape jelly, you’re not going to want to put it down. Trust me, if peanut butter and burgers aren’t something you’d normally put in the same sentence, let this miracle of a modern burgerism be your first.

Brasserie Capitale

(only lunch update 9/18) 

Who has two thumbs and goes straight for the burger at the newest French restaurant in town? This guy! A friend recommended the PSG Burger at Brasserie Capitale in Downtown Sacramento and (spoiler alert) it did not disappoint.

Walking into this beautiful restaurant with its tiled floors and white tablecloths, the last thing a rational person would be thinking is “burger.” But I’ve got a one-track burger mind, so “how’s the burger here?” is literally all I could think of. The sauteed mushrooms and onions that top the PSG Burger give you hints of French onion soup while the butter lettuce and tomato give the burger a fresh balance. I know this is a burger article, but it’s worth mentioning that the fries at Brasserie Capitale are spectacular. It’s like they perfected the McDonald’s skinny French fry, elevated it, and gave it a whisper of truffles.

Willie’s Burgers

I feel like you can’t have a “best burgers” list without an honest to goodness, old school burger joint that has “burger” in the name. Willie’s Burgers is that place. With all the fantastic fancy burger options around Sacramento, it makes me happy to have a such a reliable, classic, no-nonsense burger holding its own for so many years. With locations off Broadway, on Arden and most recently in Old Sacramento, Willie’s is our own homegrown fast food joint.

A bite into the Slammer TCC reminds me of that Kanye slow jam, “Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am.”

♬ It’ll never be picture perfect brioche bun,
grass fed beef, or smoked cheddar like those other was.
They’ll never rock an heirloom tomato in the summertime like Mulvaney’s can,
or relegate a burger to lunchtime like those white tablecloth joints, fam.
Let me know if you feel it man,
everything they’re not makes them everything they (am). ♬

That is to say, Willie’s excels in a down-to-earth burger experience that fits right in with that lunchtime meeting, your affordable Friday family dinner plans, or that clutch late night after-bar burger run. Go for the Slammer if you’re a chili fan or the regular burger if you enjoy life’s simplicities. Any way you go, Willie’s is one of the reasons I stay Sacramento Proud. Feel free to send some burger tips my way. I’m always looking for more burgers to try. If you see me around town, please say “wassup” and we’ll talk burgers.